Home News Basic Education minister briefs SA on back-to-school readiness

Basic Education minister briefs SA on back-to-school readiness

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Unions have welcomed the decision to reopen schools on Monday to start the new academic year

File picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

BASIC Education Minister Angie Motshekga is today expected to give details on the reopening of schools on Monday to start the new academic year.

This comes as unions have welcomed the decision to reopen schools.

The SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) and the National Professional Teachers Organisation of SA (Naptosa) said that this was an opportunity to get pupils back to their desks.

Sadtu general secretary Mugwena Maluleke said education plays a key role in society.

“I hope the country appreciates the fact that education not only provides education but psychosocial services. We want to send a message of hope to our children and teachers,” said Maluleke.

He said teachers would have had time to prepare for the reopening of schools.

WATCH THE BRIEFING HERE:

“School management teams had been able to prepare learners to return. They had to prepare the curriculum and the rotation of our learners,” said Maluleke.

He said teachers had also been busy with admissions.

He said even last year teachers were preparing for the return of pupils at school.

“We are asking the country to be positive about education,” he said.

The executive director at the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA (Naptosa), Basil Manuel, said they support the reopening of schools, but there must be strict adherence to health protocols.

“Naptosa has always supported the reopening of schools and we had had conditions that the schools be safe and health concerns addressed. We do believe schools create a safe environment for learners and teachers,” said Manuel.

“We have no doubt that schools must reopen, but we must do it in the safest possible manner,” he said.

He said the fact that they want schools to reopen did not take away the concerns they have.

He said there were concerns in some of the rural provinces in terms of the state of readiness levels.

But Naptosa was also concerned that for years the school infrastructure has been collapsing and this has not been addressed by the government.

Motshekga’s announcement of plans on the reopening of schools will be followed by the release of the matric results on February 22.

The minister was forced to reschedule the reopening of schools from January 27 to February 15 following concerns about the safety of learners and teachers during the peak period of Covid-19.

As part of measures to prevent the spread of the disease the Department of Basic Education has implemented a system of rotation for pupils.

This limits the number of pupils attending school at any given day.

Political Bureau